Fall safety continues to be the top job site hazard, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Top 10 Safety Violations report. This makes fall protection the top citation for the 12th year in a row, with 5,260 reported violations this fiscal year.
Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, presented the list at the National Safety Council (NSC) Safety Congress and Expo in September 2022.
Hazard communication to ensure chemical safety in the workplace and respiratory protection rounded off the top three list with 2,424 and 2,185 violations, respectively.
Falls, slips and trips are the leading cause of construction work fatalities, representing 37.9% of deaths in 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The construction industry accounted for 46.1% of all fatal falls, slips and trips in 2020, the latest data available. There were 371 reported falls in 2020, a slight decrease from the 418 reported in 2019, and the majority of them were considered falls to a lower level.
“Despite advancements in workplace safety, we continue to see the same types of violations each year. It’s more important than ever employers seek education and resources to keep their workers safe,” said Lorraine Martin, NSC president and CEO.
The notion that these accidents are preventable is heavily pushed in workplace safety content by OSHA and the U.S. Department of Labor, and they’ve created campaigns to promote this idea. In 2012, OSHA launched a Fall Prevention Campaign in collaboration with the National Occupational Research Agenda¾Construction Sector to minimize the number of preventable accidents and deaths. They’ve also created a National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, a voluntary event for employers to communicate the importance of fall prevention and potential fall hazards to help their employees best navigate these situations.